Baby eggplant

Since eggplant are such a common, inexpensive, vegetable at all the summer farmers’ markets, I’m looking for ways to use more of them.  If you look at the nutritional value of this vegetable it looks like a worthy addition to my diet–vitamins, minerals, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, iron, and protein.  So what’s my problem? I think it’s one of the most beautiful vegetables in the market–right up there with ripe bell and chili peppers, and it’s not that I don’t like it–but I certainly don’t LOVE it like I so some other veggies.  Then there’s the size–I will eat veggies I don’t love, but I certainly DO NOT want leftovers lingering in the fridge.

baby eggplant in colander
baby eggplant

This summer I’m seeing baby eggplant at the markets–they are really cute and maybe more manageable in my diet. I have a lot of them now, so I’m looking for things to do with them. My usual “treatment” for eggplant is to brush it with some good, fruity olive oil and then grill it or put it on the griddle. Since I don’t have the grill fired up this evening, I think I’ll try simply roasting some of them as a first step in discovering things to do with baby eggplant.

For more ideas of things to do with this surfeit of this vegetable, I’ve been browsing the Internet. (If you simply google “baby eggplant recipes” you get 37,500,000 hits, so I though I do a little screening.)

I’ve found several recipes that look worthwhile–some more involved than others, but still looking appealing to me, since some of these bloggers were willing to confess to not loving eggplant, too.  So, I’ll share some of these “finds” with you.

halves of baby eggplant roasted
roasted baby eggplant

There are some starting points for this vegetable–for my first attempt, I simply halved them, popped them into the oven on a baking sheet after brushing them with a little olive oil; in about 10 or 15 minutes seemed soft, so I broiled them for just a few minutes to caramelize the tops at bit.  (I think next time I’ll put a little cheese–goat, feta, or maybe Parmigiano-Reggiano on top before the broiling.) Smelled wonderful with the carmelization.  Seasoning?  I had them with just a sprinkle of Fleur de Sel that neighbor gave me for doing cat care for her.  I’m likely going to try brushing them with some of the oregano oil that I made when I had to cut back by Greek oregano, or maybe some garlic oil….

I’m probably not yet ready to say that I LOVE eggplant, but these little bites certainly were good even with minimal adornment. Some of the ones left after this evening will probably find their way as a side for white bean, tomato, cucumber salad for lunch or a light supper tomorrow.

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